Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Is Good Erotica an Oxymoron?

My friend Liz Adams has released an erotic ebook with a Wonder Woman type of heroine. Many call Ariel’s Dangerous Liaisons an erotic version of Wonder Woman. Today, the novella is free! The last day it’s free is June 28, 2104. To get your copy, go to http://bit.ly/EroticWonderWoman and download it from Amazon.

I just finished Ariel’s Dangerous Liaisons and loved it. Here’s the review I posted:

"A wild and crazy run! Ariel's adventures kept me turning pages long into the night just to find out the next outrageously fun and sexy thing she'd do. She had her dark moments, too, but make no mistake, Ariel's story is a romance with an unusual happily ever after. She’s a heroine I really rooted for, and I hope the author will provide us with the further Adventures of Ariel!"
Check out this fabulous trailer for the book!

Liz is hosting a Facebook Launch Party on Sat, June 28. There will be guests and prizes and lots of fun stuff going on,  plus I'll be giving away copies of Dead to the Max, so be sure to stop by! https://www.facebook.com/events/694071450658146 

And now for Liz’s take on “good erotica.” I love what Liz has to say, along with the funny bits (particularly the Joss Whedon approach, because it’s great and I love Joss Whedon)!

The trouble with erotica.

The trouble with erotica is that the story is about sex. Every genre has its theme. Romances are about the relationship, thrillers are about the chase, mysteries are about solving the case... and erotica is about sex.

Why is sex a problem? Look at it this way.

In a romance, Lucy wonders whether she can sacrifice her career as a NY firewoman for a potential life of love with Jacob the ice sculpture artist in Greenland.

In erotica, Dick and Jane have sex.

In a thriller, Sam is an FBI agent tracking down Charles, the clown killer, at circuses across the country.

In erotica, Harry and Jane have sex.

In a mystery, Thomas is flummoxed over who might have killed Cobb the butler. Clearly the butler didn’t do it.

In erotica, Harry, Dick, and Jane have sex.

Sure, you can put a spin on the sex scenes. Lola and Jane have sex. Wow! How unique!

The issue is that a good story requires conflict, and sex is so satisfying that conflict hardly comes up. Do you know that wonderful song, "The Book of Love?" It has a lyric about the book of love being boring.

For a long time I thought the line was ridiculous until I grasped the true meaning of the lyric. Conflict is what makes stories fascinating. In the book of love, everyone is happy, so the book is boring. The same is true for sex. Typically both or all the festive participants will end the sex scene dripping and relaxed, with smiles on their faces.

So what makes good erotica?

There has to be conflict. The author can include conflict in these three ways, but there are problems that come with each of these solutions:

1. No orgasm - If the protagonist doesn’t climax at the end of the sex scene, there must be an issue with her partner or with herself. Developing that problem in the story and attempting to resolve it becomes the conflict for the protagonist. Now that’s a fun conflict to try to resolve!

Problem - The ending is predictably one where she finally has an orgasm.

2. New desires - The protagonist can realize she has needs she's been denying all her life, she has needs she's too ashamed of having. Perhaps she desires to be with another woman. Perhaps she desires to be tied up, spanked, or flogged. That inner conflict of believing such desires are sick can be a compelling arc in the story. Will she reject her desires and pursue a moral path? Or will she descend into a decadent life of perversion?

Problem - The ending is predictably one where she realizes such desires are not amoral, just different, so she follows her moral path of decadence.

3. Sex addiction - When the protagonist uses sex as a way to temporary resolve insecurities or replace another addiction, the reader is compelled to discover how she will get over her sex addiction in a way that doesn't interfere with her sex life.

Problem - Actually, there isn't much of a problem with this type of conflict. The only danger is if she falls in love and her beloved helps her overcome her insecurity, turning her sexual addiction into lovemaking. The reason that's a problem is because we've left the genre of pure erotica and crossed into erotic romance.

Perhaps there are other ways to include conflict in erotica. I've come up with many, but most of such conflicts are actually for erotic romance, or erotic thriller, etc. When writing pure erotica, the possible conflicts are much more limited.

How to address the predictability problem?

The first two approaches of including conflict in erotica come with the problem of predictability. There are two ways to address such a problem.

1. It's not the what, it's the how: Consider different ways to tell the story in a compelling manner. For example, in every romance, the boy gets the girl, but what keeps us reading is to see how they will get together. The same is true with erotica. The journey can be more interesting than the destination.

2. The Joss Whedon approach: Think of the opposite of what's predicted and then come up with a third option. For example, for the first conflict, no orgasm, the predicted ending would be for our heroine Helga to have sex and finally have an orgasm. The opposite ending would be that she has sex and still has no orgasm.

The third option is that she isn't having sex but out of nowhere gets attacked by a heart stopping, mind-blowing orgasm. How so? It might be that she discovers she has a twin sister, and only if her sister has sex does Helga have an orgasm (meanwhile, during all of Helga’s failed attempts to have an orgasm, her sister has been having one orgasm after another out of the blue! While shopping, while watching a movie, while visiting the dentist, how embarrassing for the sister! The sister's story could be more interesting than Helga’s!)

Perhaps the biggest challenge in writing good erotica is that nearly every book has sex in it, I often have to ask myself, "How can I write a sex scene in a way that's never been done before?"

Most recently, writing and publishing my erotic version of Wonder Woman has come up with delicious answers. If you wish to see how I worked at making my sex scenes as unique as possible, with conflict and excitement, download my free ebook at http://bit.ly/EroticWonderWoman today!

About the Book

Everyone wonders what Wonder Woman’s sex life is like or what superhero sex is like. Though NOT the actual sex life of Wonder Woman, Ariel’s Dangerous Liaisons explores the racy romance and vengeful spirit of a super heroic sleuth, a female protagonist everyone can enjoy.

From International Bestselling Author Liz Adams...

What if you lived with the one man you most desired, but could never love?

Ariel Garrison is nothing like the Wonder Woman character in comic books—no tiara, no bracelets, no magic rope, and no invisible plane—but she does have superhuman strength, a secret she must guard with her life as she spends her graduating year in St. Petersburg, Russia, in a foreign exchange program. Planning to work for the CIA, Ariel has one guiding rule: never fall in love. Doing so could give her enemies leverage and put her lover’s life in jeopardy. When the dangerous liaisons with her host family lead to irresistible temptations, will her superpowers be enough to protect the one she shouldn’t love? Or will she lose her man and her lifelong dream of pursuing justice?

WARNING: In Ariel’s Dangerous Liaisons: The Erotic Wonders of a Super Heroic Woman, Ariel is a vengeful sleuth who pushes her own boundaries redefining what’s right and wrong in every situation, including the bedroom. One reviewer complained that there was too much sex. Ariel’s racy journey of lace and lingerie includes solo F, M/f, F/f, M/f/M/M, and a stage performance that would make Miley Cyrus blush. For 18 years and older.


About Liz Adams:
Liz Adams, author of the bestselling erotic fairy tale Alice’s Sexual Discovery in a Wonderful Land, lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, CA. Her short story Amy “Red” Riding’s Hood, an erotic version of Red Riding Hood, is a bestseller and winner of Goodreads’ Book of the Month for October 2012. Liz studied music and creative writing in college before making writing her career. In her spare time she cuddles with her lover on the couch to watch her favorite shows and often they work together doing research for her books. Feel free to contact Liz through Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Liz.Adams.Author.
Liz Adams is a huntress. She snares you with words and holds you down, refusing to let you go even after you’ve finished reading. Each sentence reads as if it were meant to be there; each word so precisely delivered that you soon stop reading and start envisioning the story she delectably unfolds before your eyes. --May McQueen


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